Quarterly Essay 38

Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd

David Marr

Release Date:
June 2010
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Winner of the 2010 Walkley Award for Magazine Feature Writing

Power Trip shows the making of Kevin Rudd, prime minister. In Eumundi, where Rudd was born, David Marr investigates the formative tragedy of his life: the death of his father and what came after. He tracks the transformation of a dreamy kid into an implacably determined youth, already set on the prime ministership. He examines Rudd’s years as Wayne Goss’s right-hand man in Queensland, his relentless work in federal Opposition – from Sunrise to AWB – and finally his record as prime minister.

In Rudd’s Queensland years, Marr finds strange patterns that will recur: a tendency to chaos, a mania for control and a strange mix of heady ambition and retreat. All through this dazzling and revelatory essay, Marr seeks to know what drives an extraordinarily driven man. As Power Trip concludes, he enters into a conversation with the prime minister in which much becomes clear.

“Rudd had sold himself to the Australian people as a new kind of leader: a man of intellect and values out to reshape the future. If he isn’t that, people are asking, what is he? And who is he? … Millions of words have been written about him since he emerged from the Labor pack half a dozen years ago, but Rudd remains hidden in full view.” —David Marr, Power Trip

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This issue also contains correspondence relating to the previous issue QE37 What's Right? by Waleed Aly. Correspondence relating to QE38 Power Trip will appear in the next issue.

About the Author

David Marr is the multi-award-winning author of Patrick White: a Life and The High Price of Heaven, and co-author with Marian Wilkinson of Dark Victory. In a career spanning over thirty years, he has written for the Bulletin and the Sydney Morning Herald, been editor of the National Times, a reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC-TV’s Media Watch. In 2007 he authored the Quarterly Essay His Master’s Voice.

Author Video

David Marr talks about his Power Trip: The Political Journey of Kevin Rudd
Part One | Part Two